Transportation Questions and Answers

How do I find out my student's bus number?
Go online to www.comalisd.org to the Transportation Department site to access our online “Routefinder” by entering in your address.

How do I find out where the bus stop is and at what time students should be at the bus stop?
Go online to www.comalisd.org to the Transportation Department site to access our online “Routefinder” by entering in your address. Enter your address to view morning and afternoon pick up/drop off times. All students should be at their designated bus stop five minutes prior to their pick up time.

What are the Transportation Department hours?
The Transportation Department is open from 5:45 a.m. until 5:45 p.m. on school days.

Which students are required to be provided transportation in Texas?
"The only students that your school district is required to provide transportation to are certain students receiving special education who would be unable to attend classes without special transportation services and certain students eligible under Section 504 of the Federal Rehabilitation Act who would be unable to attend classes without special transportation services." (Information provided by Texas Education Agency)

Who should I call if the bus does not arrive to pick up my child on time?
Your child should be at their bus stop five (5) minutes before the scheduled arrive time, allowing a five (5) minute window for traffic problems. When contacting our office for bus location, please have your child's bus number as well as the school, child's name and stop location. Route times may fluctuate during the first few weeks of school, so please be patient with us during this time. Also, please “like” us on Facebook for immediate route updates.

Can the driver stop at my house to pick up or drop off my child?
Only certain students, whose needs are addressed through an IEP plan, are eligible for "curbside service." "Curbside" service is normally restricted to situations where a less restrictive environment is not possible or where medical issues require this type of service. For other students, service is provided in accordance with district guidelines. Elementary students (PK-5) may be required to walk up to 0.25 miles to a bus stop. Secondary students (6-12) may be required to walk up to 0.50 miles.

Who should I report my address or telephone number changes to?
The school registrar should be contacted as soon as possible with all address and telephone number information changes. The registrar will put the information into the system allowing visibility to the Transportation Department. Transportation Staff cannot change your address information.

How will I be notified when the school bus is running late?
Situations such as traffic, road closures, weather, vehicle breakdowns or a late prior route can cause school buses to run late. Since we operate approximately 160 buses, it is impossible to contact parents when the bus is slightly late. However, we are in radio contact with all of our buses and when we determine the bus will be 10 or more minutes late we will attempt to contact the school, email the parents of students who are assigned to the late bus, and post an update status on our Facebook page.

How will I be notified of a change to my child's stop time, stop location or bus number?
If the change in time is less than five minutes, the driver will notify the students of the change. If there is a change in stop location or bus assignment the Transportation Department will send written notification home with the students.

I got home late (in PM) and I cannot find my child. The school is closed and no one answers the phone at the school. What do I do?
Calling the Transportation department is usually the best option under these circumstances. The transportation staff can assist you in locating your child. Call 830-885-9800. For afterhours please contact your local police department.

I have a question regarding a bus stop location or pick up/drop time. Who should I call?
Please contact the Transportation department at 830-885-9800. The staff is trained to answer most of the service questions. If the person does not know the answer, they will know who to contact and have your call returned with the answer. You may also obtain routing information by calling your child's home campus. Campus administration has access to the routing software which gives them the routing information you are looking for. Information is also available on our website including; Bus Route Locator, Department Information and forms, Employment and Training, Communication Vehicles, Attendance Zones, and Contact Information

My child's bus is overcrowded. Can some children be placed on another bus?
School bus sizes are stated in terms of passenger capacity. It is assumed that elementary school-aged children will ride three (3) per seat. Every attempt will be made to limit middle and high school students to ride two (2) per seat. Even if the bus has three (3) elementary students or two (2) middle or high school students in each seat, it will seem crowded but it will not be over capacity. It is our goal to fully utilize all the space on all of the buses in our fleet.

I cannot see my child's bus stop from my house. How can I get the bus stop moved closer?
The bus stops are located at centralized locations that can be safely accessed by a significant number of students to minimize the time and mileage of a run. If you have a concern about your child's safety, you are encouraged to accompany your child to the bus stop. As a safety consideration it is safer to have several students wait at a stop versus an individual. Comal ISD utilizes group stops where possible to cut down on the amount of ride time students are having to ride the bus. Also, in accordance with Comal ISD guidelines, Elementary students (PK-5) may be required to walk up to 0.25 miles to a bus stop. Secondary students (6-12) may be required to walk up to 0.50 miles. Students may also be required to walk further in newer subdivisions that have multiple houses under construction (active construction), as buses cannot fit down roads where there are vehicles parked on both sides, or if a subdivision is private and/or gated.

Why are the school bus seats spaced so close together?
The purpose of spacing school bus seats so close is to contain the child in a cushioned compartment with only a minimum amount of space between energy-absorbing surfaces.

In the 1970's the Department of Transportation and the National Highway Safety Administration determined that the safest and best arrangement for school bus seating would be a "compartmentalization" concept. Under this concept, seat backs are made higher, wider and thicker than before. All metal surfaces are covered with foam padding. They must also have a steel inner structure that springs and bends forward to help absorb energy when a child is thrown against it. The seat is required to be anchored to the floor so strongly that it will not pull loose during this bending action. The floor must be so strong that it will not be bent or torn by the pulling action of the seat anchors.

Finally, if the seats are too far apart, the child could be thrown too far before being cushioned and/or could be thrown outside of the bus compartment altogether. The rule today states that the seat back be no farther than 24" away from a defined point.

My child left a jacket (books, instrument, etc.) on the bus. How can he get it back?
The drivers must check their bus after each run. Items left on the bus by students will be held by the driver and may be claimed by the child. Fragile, expensive items are taken off the bus in the evening for their protection, but the driver will bring them back on the bus the next morning to be claimed. If an item does not get claimed the driver will turn it into the Transportation lost and found.

Where does my Elementary child get his/her Backpack Tag from?
All elementary students will receive their backpack tags from their assigned campus.
(review the T-pass section on this website for more information) 

Where does my Middle or High School child get his/her Bus Pass Tag from?
All secondary students will receive an identification card (ID) from their campus. New student riders will receive a temporary handwritten bus pass from their campus administration and will be allowed to use the temporary bus pass until the student receives a new ID card from their campus. The students ID card will verify the student and scan them on and off the bus.
(review the T-pass section on this website for more information) 

Will my child be able to ride the bus without a Bus Tag?
Students will still be able to ride the bus as long as the student has been verified as a CISD student through our dispatch office or campus administration. Students are expected to have their ID card when boarding and exiting the bus. Failure to have the bus tag will result in disciplinary action (including suspension from the bus).
(review the T-pass section on this website for more information) 

What if my student has lost his/her Bus Tag?
Elementary: Replacement cards can be obtained from the student’s assigned afternoon Bus Driver.
Secondary: Replacement ID badges can be obtained from the student's campus.
(review the T-pass section on this website for more information) 

What happens to my Pre-K, Kindergarten, or 1st grade student if there is no authorized person at the bus stop?
The child will be returned to his/her elementary campus, where it will then be the parent's responsibility to come and get them. After your student's been returned to the campus five (5) times, bus riding privileges will be suspended on the take home service. Your student may continue to ride the bus to school only. Should you need to add additional authorized persons to receive your child at the bus stop, you may do so by calling the Transportation Department at 830-885-9800.

What if I want my child to get off the bus at another address other than my house?
A Request for Alternate Transportation form, found on the District website, must be filled out and turned into the student’s assigned campus for campus approval. Once the campus has approved the request they will then forward it to the Transportation Department for processing. Criteria is located on the Request for Alternate Transportation form which must be met in order for a student to be eligible to get off at another stop other than the assigned bus stop location.

Why did you suspend my student from riding the bus?
Behavioral expectations on the school bus are much like those in the classroom. Then, factor in the mobility of that "classroom" and traffic, added noise and the size of the "classroom" and you have a potential catastrophe if there are not clear expectations and enforcement. The behavioral expectations on the bus revolve around the individual rights of every person on the bus, including the driver and the collective rights of students and driver as it pertains to Safety. Anything that jeopardizes the safety of individuals on the bus is viewed as a serious violation.

Drivers have bus rules and/or expectations posted on the bus. When there is an infraction, a referral is turned into the Student Management Specialist, who are responsible for contacting the student and parent to solve the lack of compliance with bus expectations. The transportation department is solely responsible for consequences based on the incident as described by the driver and student. Most buses have video cameras, which are used to verify incidents. Our goal is never to deny any student transportation to and from school, but we must maintain safety for all students.

Why can't you come further into my sub-division?
School buses range length from 35-40 feet and 9 feet wide. The length is what limits the school bus to be maneuvered in cul-de-sacs and tight places. Long buses cannot maneuver the same circle without backing the bus, which is avoided in routing if possible. Residents sometimes park trucks, boats, and trailers on the streets. Students leave their bicycles, skateboards, and basketball backboards on the streets. Although our drivers are trained to be able to Parallel Park their buses, some sub-divisions are not designed with school bus transportation in mind. Please know that we will design bus routes to be safe and convenient to the majority of students within the limits of time and physics.

Why does my student have a seat assignment?
Seat assignments are a positive way for the ride to be consistent and safe. It is also our policy for students to be assigned to a specific seat. This aids the driver with discipline and learning each student's names at the beginning of the school year.

How do you decide when it is too dangerous for school buses to transport students to school due to inclement weather? Who decides? How is the public notified?
The district works closely with local emergency response agencies, as well as representatives with the National Weather Service, to monitor condition when the threat of severe weather is possible. In addition, members of our Transportation Department are on the roadways in the early morning hours, assessing bus routes for any possible dangers.
The superintendent, along with staff representing operations, transportation, safety and security, and communications, assesses information gathered from local agencies, the National Weather Service, and personal observations to determine the best course of action. In many cases, making the call to alter the normal school schedule can be difficult simply due to the fact that weather is unpredictable, and that the weather conditions can differ from one side of the district to another. Ultimately, the decision to cancel school, or have a delayed start is made in the best interest of student and staff safety.

How do we Communicate with You?
If there is certainty in the weather forecast and its impact on safety, a decision to cancel school or have a delayed start will be made the evening before to give parents time to make plans for child care if necessary. If there is uncertainty in the forecast, such as the timing or severity of the weather, parents and staff will be notified by 5:30 a.m., that morning.

The district uses several methods to make parents and staff aware of school closures and delays. Please be sure to stay tuned to one or more to ensure you receive up-to-date notifications.
 
District Website/Social Media: Closing and delayed start notifications will be posted to the district’s website www.comalisd.org as well as the district’s Facebook page and Twitter feed.
 
SchoolMessenger (email & Phone): Email and phone notifications are sent to the phone numbers and email addresses that were provided at the time of registration. It is important that we have accurate and information on file. If you have recently changed your email address or phone number, please contact your campus registrar to have this information updated.

Local Media: Closing and delayed start notification will be sent to local media in New Braunfels and San Antonio.

Special Needs Transportation

How can I receive transportation for my special needs student?
The parent must contact the students assigned campus to set up an appointment to review their students Individual Education Plan (IEP). After it has been determined that the student would benefit from being transported apart from the mainstreamed students, the teacher will complete and send a special needs transportation request to our office for processing.

How long does it take to set up transportation for my special needs student?
Three to five (3-5) days are needed to obtain all emergency information, process routing information, contact drivers and communicate with parents and other professionals involved.

Why can't last minute changes be granted?
Safety is our main goal and concern. Changes may be granted for consistent schedules within the student's regular route.

Why can't my regular education student ride the same bus with my special needs student?
Special needs transportation is granted in accordance with a student's needs as a related service to the Individualized Education Plan (IEP). Students who receive an education without an IEP are provided transportation through conventional means.

Standard Education - Two-Mile Students
Students who are attending their zoned schools of attendance and who reside two or more miles (as measured along the shortest route that may be traveled on public roads) from their assigned campuses are eligible for transportation services at district-designated stops.

Special Education Programs
Students eligible for transportation to special education programs are resident district students with disabilities, impairments, or both who are eligible for special education services and who would be unable to attend school and benefit from their special education programs of instruction without the availability of specialized transportation. To be eligible for special education transportation, a student must attend the closest available program to his or her zoned school of attendance and have:

A written Admission, Review, and Dismissal (ARD) committee recommendation requesting specialized transportation services and stating the specific type of transportation services necessary to reasonably accommodate the student’s disability or impairment; and;

An Individualized Education Program or Individualized Family Service Plan that includes the written recommendation of the ARD committee requesting specialized transportation services.

SPECIAL NEEDS TRANSPORTATION PARAMETERS
(As of: April 2016)

A. Administrative:
Transportation as a related service is a decision of the Admission, Review, and Dismissal (ARD) committee. The Transportation Department may have representation at or participate in ARD meetings to assist in the determination of student transportation. Transportation will be from student’s home to school and school to home as determined by the ARD. The ARD should not direct specific pick up/drop off times, nor should it provide transportation to destinations not in accordance with the TEA Transportation Handbook such as outside therapy sessions, dental, medical, and therapeutic appointments, etc.

B. Operational:
Community-Based Vocational Instruction (CBVI) sites should be accessible without the use of a school bus. In the event that this is not possible, the Director of Special Education over Transition Services must pre-approve plans for CBVI sites necessitating the use of a school bus. Such sites must be located as close as practical to the student’s attending campus boundary in order to reduce bus travel distance and student time on board.

The home campus should be the first consideration. For example, students whose services and supports can be provided at the home campus; e.g., students who have a hearing impairment, autism, etc., should attend their respective home campus or nearest clustered campus instead of being transported across the District based on parent/teacher/school preference, etc.

Transportation is not provided when a student has been granted attendance in a school of choice.

Except in rare cases, transportation is not provided to or from a licensed, registered child care facility (CCF) outside of a student’s school attendance area. Transportation to or from Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) or other therapy appointments is not within transportation criteria.

The District will consider the option of contracting transportation services with parent(s) or a third party transportation entity if the situation arises where the District is unable to provide transportation services that have been recommended in the student’s IEP/ARD.